Migrants' health needs unclear

The health needs of migrants in south east England are poorly understood and must be better researched, a government report warns.

TB cases pose specific challenges (Photograph: SPL)

Care databases contain scant information on the health of migrant populations in this region, the joint DoH and Health Protection Agency report says.

It calls for systems that capture better data on this group to help inform improved commissioning. The study outlined key issues surrounding the healthcare of migrant populations. It said TB, STIs, HIV and other infectious diseases pose specific challenges.

Many migrants come from countries where childhood vaccination programmes are poor, the report adds.

Migrants' access to care can be undermined by poor service knowledge, confusion about NHS entitlement, language and cultural issues, it says.

Mental health issues also need to be considered. Asylum seekers and refugees are often fleeing persecution, violence, disaster or disease and have greater risk of serious mental health problems, it said.

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